Tips and Tricks for Inventing - The Development of a Creative Idea
No matter which field you work in, creative ideas always go down well and can take you up the career ladder. But not everyone is born with an innovative spirit. Sometimes, you have the necessary skills, but your creativity is blocked. It happens to so many people these days that they have forgotten to think freely due to stress, pressure to perform, worries, or tight hierarchies in the workplace. Free thinking, "thinking outside the box", linking, and recognizing connections or problems are the prerequisites for brainstorming. But once the idea has been found, it is important to implement the idea on a tecnical level. And that's the point where problems arise frequently. The following article provides you with important tips on how to systematically solve a technical problem.
For inventors, but also for start-up companies, fresh ideas are essential. But you don't have to be Gyro Gearloose or have a thinking cap to stimulate the grey cells to hatch ideas. Did you know that since the 1950s, there has been a method that systematizes "inventing" and provides the "theory for solving inventive problems"? This method is called TRIZ. This is the abbreviation for the Russian term "Teoria reschenija isobretatjelskich zadatsch", which means "Theory of inventive problem solving" and was developed by the two Russians Genrich Saulowitsch Altschuller and Rafael Borissowitsch Shapiro. Altschuller, a Russian engineer, inventor and science fiction writer believed that anyone can learn to be an inventor. The basis for this belief was a sifting of over 200,000 patent specifications, which he systematically examined with Shapiro. From this, the two developed a contradiction table and 40 rules of innovation that should enable anyone to solve an inventive problem.
The TRIZ method in brief
With the help of this method, inventors can systematize their problem solving. Thus, a technical problem is reduced to its abstract components in order to find an abstract solution. Once this has been found, it can in turn be transformed back into a concrete solution.
TRIZ is used millions of times worldwide and has been further developed over the course of time so that another seven methods have been added to the original seven methods of classic TRIZ.
Learning the TRIZ Method
The TRIZ method is a very effective, but also complex approach to solving an inventive problem. In order to understand TRIZ in its depth and also to implement it systematically, there are various workshops and seminars offered by numerous providers.
Further Methods of Identifying Problems and Finding Solutions
The first way to arrive at innovative concepts is to choose a problem that still exists in a current concept. New developments are often not perfect or practicable and must be refined over time. If you find something from your industry that occupies the zeitgeist but can still be improved, let your mind brood over it. The more you allow your subconscious mind to deal with the question, the faster it will generate possible solutions. The idea for the e-bike was born about 150 years ago, but heavy engines slowed down the success of the invention - in the truest sense of the word. It was only with the production of small and lightweight lithium-ion batteries that they gained new fame in the 1990s.
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The Combination of Existing Concepts
Another possibility to convince customers, bosses, or product testers is to combine old concepts and create a better, more innovative concept from them. Shower gel and shampoo are working concepts. Most people need and use them. For frequent travellers and frequent flyers, the combination of both in one bottle was a space-saving and welcome innovation. And it is precisely for these people that the toothpaste-dispensing toothbrush of the future could be of great interest.
Identifying and Exploiting trends
If you would like to generate a new, interesting solution that brings social benefits, you should investigate the zeitgeist. Knowing what is occupying people now - what is being well received, what is being complained about - can be helpful in finding starting points for ideas. Anyone who can see the trends of the future from this is clearly at an advantage. Sometimes it also helps to search patent databases and find out what has already been registered in the relevant industry but has not yet become established. Solution approaches after a patent search could result in a new patent.
Allow Many Ideas and Choose the Best One
Another way to develop a good idea is to allow multiple ideas. This has less to do with brainstorming than with motivation. First, the problem must be important to you and you must want to find solutions. Inventors are usually characterized by a high drive and high productivity. Not everything is usable, but perhaps every six months you’ll have an idea that is outstanding. A second requirement is that you are familiar with the areas you are thinking about. Try to generate as much knowledge as possible in the field in which you work and in related subject areas. Read everything about the topic. This will give your brain the fuel it needs.
Companies sometimes offer their employees the opportunity to develop their skills in many different areas. However, too many companies limit themselves to one specialist area and only promote further training in one area, which inhibits the development of ideas. Ideas come about by combining knowledge and experience from several specialist areas.
Misjudgments in History - Prominent Inventions and Their Doubters
Do you sometimes doubt your ideas? Do you hear things like "What's the point?" or "That's never gonna happen"? Don't let them stop you from following your development.
After Enlightenment - What to do with the idea?
When the eureka moment finally arrives, one must decide how to protect their new idea. Since creative progress is to be promoted, the protection of an idea alone is not possible. The only thing that really works here is secrecy until the implementation has taken place. However, the embodiment of the idea is then subject to copyright and can be applied for a patent if it is a commercially usable object. Look at the other articles on the website ("Implementing the Invention" and "Why Should you Protect your Invention?"). Patent protection lasts a maximum of 25 years.
If neither copyright nor trademark rights has been applied for, freedom of imitation applies. This means that new ideas may also be used to implement them in innovative ways.
If you want to develop new ideas, look for topics that are important to you. Only then will you have enough motivation to generate the necessary knowledge for the process of brainstorming. Choose problems from these areas and apply the TRIZ method to systematic problem solving. Once the problem has been solved, i.e. the invention has been made, it must be kept secret until it has been implemented. Only then is it possible to have the invention legally protected.